As hundreds die in Haiti Hurricane Matthew disaster, awkward questions about billions of dollars Clinton Foundation raised to help it

The supposedly “wonderful work” that the Clinton Foundation does for the world’s poor has had a massive focus on Haiti. Yet, for all the billions of dollars raised to help that beleaguered nation recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti has suffered hundreds of deaths from Hurricane Matthew. The BBC reports:

The death toll in Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew - the most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade - has soared to more than 300, officials say.

Some 50 people were reported killed in the town of Roche-a-Bateau alone.

The nearby city of Jeremie saw 80% of its buildings levelled. In Sud province 30,000 homes were destroyed. (snip)

The collapse of an important bridge on Tuesday had left the south-west largely cut off.

Non-governmental organisations said phone coverage and electricity were down and people were running out of food and water.

The BBC's Tony Brown in south-western Haiti said he had seen people trying to cope with the mass destruction on their own, trying to rebuild from the rubble but without the help of the army or police.

The failure of the Clinton Foundation to provide meaningful help to Haiti over the past years has been noticed by the Haitian diaspora in the United States. Politically, they are a crucial group, with large numbers in Florida, a critical swing state. They have already shown concern:

“The Clinton family’s charitable work in Haiti has been a mix of success, disappointment and controversy,” The Washington Post concluded when it looked into charges GOP nominee Donald Trump’s campaign had made. (Read reporter Jonathan Katz’s in-depth article on the roles of the Clintons and their foundation in Haiti here.)

That history mixes with former President Bill Clinton’s mixed record in Haiti, which included his destruction of domestic rice growing in the pursuit of free trade and a new market for American rice farmers. He apologized for the policy in 2010.

“It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to,” he said in retrospect. “I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else.”  (snip)

The bigger fear is that people will instead stay home, activists and leaders of the Haitian-American community say. While vocal, the population of Haitians in Florida isn’t overwhelming. The Census bureau puts the number at slightly under half a million, and only about half of those have the citizenship required to vote. More than half of those who are citizens are under 18, meaning that Trump and Clinton are fighting over a voting pool that could be as low as 100,000 people. Haitian attitudes, though, can influence perceptions among other Caribbean-Americans. There are around 1.5 million non-Cuban Caribbean-Americans in Florida. (Cuban-Americans are far more likely to vote Republican than other Caribbean-Americans.)

In a remarkable interview about the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, financial analyst Charles Ortel, who has reviewed more public documents on the charity than anyone else, offers some astounding figures on the scale of funds raised versus the funds expended on actual charitable work in Haiti: (read the whole thing!)

Goodman: What is the Clinton Foundation controversy in Haiti about?

Ortel: The simple answer is that billions of dollars in “aid” supposedly were raised to help the desperately poor people of Haiti, yet Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation refuse to account, in granular and verified fashion, for any of this aid. If Haiti (before the latest storm) had obviously been better off, perhaps this controversy would not now be swirling with hurricane force winds. But accounts from multiple parties suggest that Haiti has little to show in the parts of the nation that were devastated in January 2010. (snip)

The books of the Clinton Foundation and of Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund suggest that around $100 million or so may have been raised―but the truth is that no one really knows. One major warning sign is that the Clinton Fondation 990 for 2010 (and the amended return for 2010 filed in November 2015) show the largest single expenditure as being a $37 million grant to the CBHF―the trouble is that both declarations list a PO Box address in Baltimore, MD as that of the CBHF, whereas other declarations made under penalties of perjury state that the CBHF had one office only and that was in Washington, DC.

Another problem is that the CBHF claims in its 990s to the IRS that it had no foreign bank accounts― How did they manage millions of dollars inside Haiti? All told, high end estimates of how much money may have been sent towards Haiti exceed $10 billion and this amount is about equal to the total incomes earned by all Haitians during 2010, so it is a mammoth sum, considered in the context of Haiti. Most of these funds were raised, not through the Clinton Foundation and CBHF, which are estimated to have raised $0.130 billion altogether, but through Clinton’s Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), which, according to Dady Chery, ran Haiti during a declared state of emergency from April 2010 to October 2011.

Very little, trifling amounts, seem to have actually helped. So where did all these missing billions go?

Don’t expect the media to raise a peep about this massive amount of money raised versus the trifles actually spent to help Haiti.

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